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Friday, August 12, 2005

Mystery solved

The other night we asked what was that peculiar smell in the "A" gate elevator at Portland International Airport. Today comes this answer from Steve Johnson, the media relations guru of PDX:

I did a little research on your good question, and here is what I learned. The smell, which I agree smells a little like wet hay, comes from a biodegradable vegetable oil used in the hydraulic system that operates this particular elevator. While the elevator is particularly environmentally friendly, we are going to take a look at the sump pump in the elevator shaft to make sure there is no unusual collection of vegetable oil. Just so you also know, we do clean the elevator on a regular basis. Thanks so much for the question!
Don't mention it.

Comments (3)

Guess that helps off-set all the pure antifreeze (deicer) they once sprayed on the planes (by the thousands of gallons) and the same stuff our Fire Departments now wipe up from traffic accident scenes at a recovery cost (to we taxpayers) of near $5000. a gallon. And, you are telling us that being environmentally correct can even smell like (BS) manure?

I'd love to see a citation for this $5,000 a gallon thing.

First of all, most wing and aircraft deicer is propylene glycol-based (aka "environmentally friendly"), not the ethylene glycol-based (aka "don't let your pets near it") stuff that winds up in most cars. There's Type I aircraft fluid (deicer) and Type IV fluid (anti-icer). Both are diluted with water prior to application.

Secondly, PG-based deicers and anti-icers remain the product of choice for most airports and carriers - to the tune of hundereds of thousands of gallons/year.

Arco used to have a near-monopoly on the stuff. Now, it's a nice little oligopoly - Lyondell, Carbide and Clariant.

Carry on.

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